Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Up And The Down

In Alchemy, direction matters. Up and down. In and out. But these directions aren’t necessarily ones that would show up on a compass. You can’t find alchemical up and come back to it by turning your feet the right way. Up today isn’t necessarily up tomorrow. Rather, existence is like an Escher print, with directions changing depending on whether you are looking with your eyes or your heart.

Rather than learn which direction is kept where, we must learn to recognize paths wherever they appear. Paths have flavors and textures. Directions are also places that have denizens to meet, activities to do, special foods and even architectural styles. You don’t learn where a path is, but what it feels like, what it tastes like.

What is Down? Down under earth, the roots plough through the dark dirt. They branch, and branch again, blindly reaching out. At the tip of each root end, is a cluster of hard cells that can press through bedrock. But along their sides, the skin of the roots are open to the world, drawing in nutrients: nitrogen and potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Roots are opportunistic. They do not plan ahead and contrary to popular perception, they do not grow towards water or food. Instead they take the path of least resistance, using what is already available such as cracks in the soil, worm tunnels, and old root channels. When they find a resource in abundance, they proliferate, but such a discovery is always a happy surprise rather than the result of a deliberate plan.

What is Up? Leaves open, airy, light gathering. So short a life span, just a year or less, while the tree lives for years and years. Evergreens shed all year round keeping their canopies continuously intact. Evergreen means always shedding leaves, a continuous sacrifice. Leaves are high up, sometimes hundreds of feet above the roots. they create the outer edges of the tree. They grow at the foremost edges of trees, creating a field of energy collection. The leaves themselves work to shed rainfall down to the ground where it will be absorbed by the roots and brought back up through the trunk. The real purpose of the leaves is to collect sunlight energy. To receive. And here, at the other edge of the being, we find another kind of absorption. The absorption of light.

This is one example of the Up and the Down.

No comments: